New Hampshire bills focus on truck fines, inspections

| 1/17/2008

Several bills of interest to truck drivers in New Hampshire have been offered for consideration since the regular session started early this month. Among the bills focusing on the trucking industry is a measure that would triple the fines for overloaded vehicles.

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Ryan, D-Franklin, the bill – HB1461 – would raise fines for driving overweight from $100 to $300. Subsequent offenses within one year would result in $750 fines – up from $250.

Trucks found in violation while on non-interstates and general highways in the state would face $300 fines, or 6 cents for each pound in excess of the prescribed weight, whichever is greater – up from $200 or 2 cents. Repeat offenses would result in $750 fines or 6 cents per pound – up from $250 or 2 cents.

Subsequent offenses would result in $750 fines or 6 cents per pound up to an excess of 15,000 pounds – up from $250 or 2 cents. When the excess is between 15,001 pounds and 30,000 pounds, it would increase to 9 cents per pound and 12 cents per pound when the excess is more than 30,000 pounds – up from 3 cents and 4 cents, respectively.

Exceeding the posted weight limit on bridges would result in $600 fines – up from $200. Driving on bridges that trucks are prohibited from crossing would result in $1,200 fines – up from $400.

The additional revenue from the increased fines would be earmarked for the state’s highway fund.

Sen. Robert Letourneau, R-Derry, offered another bill – SB364 – that would require police officers to allow a tolerance of 5 percent above certain specified weight limitations for vehicles on non-interstates and general highways.

A separate bill would establish roadside inspection procedures for large trucks. Inspections could be carried out by highway patrol and enforcement officers or other law enforcement agents certified to conduct inspections.

Sponsored by Rep. Jordan Ulery, R-Hudson, the bill – HB1610 – also would make it a misdemeanor if operators failed to stop or allow an inspection.

Another bill would remove the discretion of the courts to place on file, or otherwise mask, convictions incurred by commercial driver’s license holders in New Hampshire or other states. Deferred imposition and diversion programs would be included in the prohibition. Sponsored by Rep. Robert Williams, D-Concord, the measure – HB1343 – would exempt parking tickets.

The bills are in their respective chamber’s transportation committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Hampshire in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor